Texas State University

KUT Morning Newscast for April 30, 2024

Central Texas top stories for April 30, 2024. Dozens of people are in jail this morning after another pro-Palestinian protest at UT Austin. “Sit in for Palestine” at Texas State University. Austin-Travis County EMS responded to a surge of overdose calls yesterday.  Today is the last day of early voting in the May 4th election. After years of booming growth, the number of daily flights out of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is slowing down.

KUT Morning Newscast for April 29, 2024

Central Texas top stories for April 29, 2024. Early voting in the May 4th local election ends tomorrow. Previewing the primary runoff election on May 28th. Organizers in San Marcos are planning a pro-Palestinian demonstration this afternoon at Texas State University. The City of Austin is set to open some seasonal pools today. H-E-B grocery store chain is recalling some three-ounce cups of its Creamy Creations ice cream because of potential metal.

KUT Afternoon Newscast for April 25, 2024

Central Texas top stories for April 25, 2024. The latest on the pro-Palestinian protests on the UT Austin campus. Texas State University students plan their own protest. Hutto ISD’s superintendent is expected to resign. Biden administration to invest in electric vehicle production in Central Texas. Longhorn softball.

KUT Afternoon Newscast for April 17, 2024

Central Texas top stories for April 17, 2024. What the next regular session of the Texas Legislature could mean for the state’s power grid. More lawsuits have been filed in the deadly Hays CISD bus crash. Texas State University needs more housing for students. The City of Austin wants to give more resources to re-envisioning how sexual assault cases are investigated. We are seeing another spike in prices at the gas pumps. The 47th annual O. Henry Museum Pun Off World Championships are coming up next month.

KUT Morning Newscast for January 04, 2024

Central Texas top stories for January 04, 2024. Texans can now submit applications to vote by mail. Texas immigration bill lawsuit. New study on medication abortions. How sharks in Australia can help us understand Texas.

KUT Morning Newscast for November 21, 2023

Central Texas top stories for November 21, 2023. Bumble joins Texas abortion ban lawsuit. Texas State University to host presidential debate. Austin Animal Center overcrowding. All abilities playground opens in Austin.

KUT Morning Newscast for November 1, 2023

Central Texas top stories for November 1, 2023. Christopher Taylor trial wrapping up. House relocation. University research proposition. Water project proposition.

KUT Morning Newscast for April 4, 2023

Central Texas top stories for April 4, 2023. Austin ISD may appeal the TEA special education takeover. Georgetown ISD Superintendent retiring. The Austin Public Library is growing. Texas State University phone scams.

KUT Morning Newscast for March 14, 2023

Central Texas top stories for March 14, 2023. Texas Rent Relief. Spring Break traveling. Education Austin. Texas State water study. Georgetown City Council.

KUT Morning Newscast for December 7, 2022

Central Texas top stories for December 7, 2022. Texas State University cannabis policy changes. Public Utility Commission staffing problems. Tree of Angels lighting. Mayoral debate correction.

KUT Afternoon Newscast for September 23, 2022

Central Texas top stories for September 23, 2022. Liberty Hill water restrictions. Ascension Seton nurses union. School bonds forum. District 5 candidate forum. Kyle sign removal. Texas State University record enrollment. UT football. UT volleyball.

KUT Morning Newscast for September 12, 2022

Central Texas top stories for September 12, 2022. Cedar Park outdoor watering restrictions. Austin tenant relocation fund. HAAM Day is tomorrow. Voter registration deadline. UT vs. Alabama football. Homelessness grants. Texas State University new president. Austin FC vs. Seattle Sounders.

KUT Morning Newscast for August 24, 2022

Central Texas top stories for August 24, 2022. Uvalde CISD police chief termination hearing. Del Valle ISD substitute teacher recruitment. West Nile Virus. Texas State University Monkeypox. Brushy Creek sewage spill. Travis County jail inmates’ access to attorneys.

KUT Morning Newscast for August 22, 2022

Central Texas top stories for August 22, 2022. Central Texas under a Flood Watch. Affordable housing bond election. First day of fall classes at UT Austin and Texas State. Hays County school resource officers. Free CapMetro rides to Travis County cooling centers. East Austin Barrio Landmarks Project. Austin FC v Minnesota United. 

Texas Standard: July 22, 2022

After the recent Supreme Court ruling proponents of abortion rights and same sex marriage protections are turning to Congress. But is there enough support? We’ll take a look. Also Texas teens across the board are dealing with increased mental health challenges since the start of the pandemic. But for trans teens finding the right mental health care support can be an extra hurdle. And first responders face high risk on the job. But when some Texas firefighters, officers and EMS workers have filed workers compensation claims they’ve found roadblock upon roadblock. Plus it’s not just home sale prices that are through the roof in Texas, it’s also rent. So can you negotiate with your landlord? And the study of Harry Styles. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: April 5, 2022

Could what critics call Florida’s “don’t say gay” law be coming to Texas? The Texas Lt. Governor says it’s a top priority. Also, the end on an historic union lockout dubbed the “Battle of Beaumont”; what it says about organized labor in Texas. And, a collection of artifacts sheds new light on one of Texas’ most celebrated musicians. Those stories and much more today on the Texas Standard:

Remembering ‘Beneficent Genius’ Bill Wittliff

When I hear the great musical theme of Lonesome Dove, I am immediately grateful to Bill Wittliff because I know we wouldn’t have the deeply treasured miniseries if not for him. We would have Larry McMurtry’s novel for sure, but we would not have Wittliff’s equally brilliant adaptation of that masterwork if not for his undeterred resolve to get it done.

Bill Wittliff died on Sunday. I was, like millions of his fans around the world, and especially those in Texas, sad to see his rare intellectual light and his beneficent genius leave us. He was a man who often worked his magic behind the scenes and so many people were touched by his artistic brilliance without knowing it. He wrote the screenplays for much loved movies like Lonesome Dove, Legends of the Fall, The Perfect Storm, Raggedy Man, and for highly Texcentric films like Barborosa and Red-Headed Stranger. Some say Wittliff launched the Austin film industry.

Though Renaissance man is often overgenerous in its use, it fit Wittliff to perfection. He was a novelist, and a screenwriter, a photographer, a publisher and movie producer, a collector, an archivist, a historian and a lifelong professor who generously shared his knowledge of all things all the time. In more than a few instances over the past few years I’d fire off an email to him to ask for his insights on some obscure subject and he’d invariably surprise me with an authoritative answer within five minutes, sometimes less.

Four years ago I interviewed Bill for his new novel The Devil’s Backbone. Naturally we talked a good deal about Lonesome Dove and I want to share some of that interview because it gives us insights into the making of that masterpiece and into the mind and methods of Wittliff as well.
I first asked Bill about how long it took to produce Lonesome Dove and if he knew it would be the huge hit it turned out to be?

“For me Lonesome Dove was a solid two years,” Wittliff said. “It was a year writing the script, and then it was another year from locations and casting and all of that, to actually shooting it and then editing and the scoring – all of it – and distribution. Here’s what I did know. I knew, because I saw the dailies every morning – and I knew, you know, that what was going through the cameras was incredible stuff, incredible performances. What I didn’t know was that the audience would take to it the way they did. That I didn’t know. I knew it was going to be great and I knew it was going to be well really phenomenal. It was just incredible to watch – to sit there every day and watch Duvall and Tommy Lee and all of them deliver those lines. You simply could not be there and not know. But what I didn’t know is that the audience would take to it the way the did.”

One reason for this surprise, Bill told me, is that in 1988 there was only one thing deader than Westerns and that was the miniseries. And, he said, “we were making both.”

I was curious about his method of adapting the novel for television. I asked him how, out of this tumultuous novel of nearly 1,000 pages, he could choose what to include and what to exclude.

“Here’s what I did,” Wittliff said. “At that time I was driving a pickup. Suzanne, my partner, had someone read it on tape. We have a place on South Padre Island. It’s six hours to drive down there. So I would strike out in my pickup, which is to say you were in a closed in space. And start playing that and listening to it. You could see it. In listening to it you would say oh I don’t need that or oh that’s too close to this. Because I was driving I could kind of see a version of the movie unfold as I drove along. In six hours, as it turned out, of listening to Larry’s novel was just about one episode. So I’d drive to South Padre and when I got there I then I would start adapting that six hours, boiled down to two hours. Anyway, that’s how I did it.”

Finally, since McMurtry had written a number of screenplays himself, I asked Bill why Larry hadn’t written it himself.

“When they asked me to do it, I called Larry and I said, ‘Don’t you want to do this,’ and he said, ‘no, I’m cooked,'” Wittliff said. “Larry’s always been smart about movies and his books. I don’t know what Larry had his thumb on when he wrote it, but boy it rang all the bells. And Larry got up from the typewriter and walked off from it at least three times maybe four times. He said ‘well, no, that’s enough,’ but then he always came back. And Lonesome Dove, both Larry’s book and now the miniseries, have absolutely become a part of the American fabric. It’s just astonishing. I’ve got calls from Ireland, Europe and England, caught up in the Lonesome Dove thing as much as Americans and Texans are. It’s just been astonishing.”

You notice there how he shuns credit for his success. He was a selfless man. That is why he created the Wittliff Collections with his wife Sally at Texas State University. There you can find the papers of great Southwestern writers like McCarthy, Dobie, Graves, Cisneros and some of McMurtry’s, which will be his greatest legacy, because it provides a place and resources for young writers, and artists, and filmmakers to come and dream about works they might animate and worlds they might create.

Steve Davis the curator there, said, “Bill embodied the best of Texas — he was incredibly creative and was very generous to others — as seen in this wonderful collection that he founded, which will continue to inspire others for generations to come.”

Finally, it is only fitting that we hear from McMurtry himself. Larry sent this touching note to me just yesterday.

He wrote: “I met Bill years ago when he and his wife asked permission to publish IN A NARROW GRAVE, my first volume of essays under their singular and distinctive Encino Press. It is the most impressive of my more than fifty published volumes. He was an absolute genius photographer, as you can see from his Wittliff Collection photos. Bill skillfully adapted LONESOME DOVE into a beloved miniseries, and I know he will be deeply missed by Texans everywhere.”

Bill lived a beautiful, fun and inspirational life. I believe firmly that in thinking about his life he would agree with Gus McCrae, who said, “It’s been quite a party, ain’t it?”

Texas Standard: February 8, 2018

The Texas primaries are just around the corner. We’ll follow the money to find out which big organizations are funding candidates so far. Also the numbers are devastating and they seem to be growing. What’s behind an uptick in child abuse deaths in Texas? And a central Texas university is mired in debate about racism involving the student body president. We’ll have the story. Plus as the state’s first medical cannabis oil dispensary opens we’ll talk with a doctor about why even those eligible for a CBD oil prescription might have a hard time getting one. And a new book about an odyssey in the Texas Hill Country is getting a lot of praise and complimentary comparisons. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard: